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Sky Harbor flight delays, cancelations continue into the new year

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Posted at 12:36 PM, Jan 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-03 09:55:15-05

PHOENIX — After weeks of travel woes, Sky Harbor International Airport is continuing to see flight cancellations and delays into the new year.

The travel nightmare continues with more than 2,600 flights canceled across the United States Saturday alone.

That's the most since the wave of cancellations that began just before Christmas, and the numbers just keep growing.

More than 1,000 flights that were headed out on Sunday have been grounded, due to a combination of weather and staffing shortages.

Arizona is not immune to these disruptions.

Travelers telling ABC15 their delays range anywhere from 20-30 minutes, to upwards of an hour. Many of them worried these delays, and even cancellations, are going to make it impossible for them to make it to their destination.

"At this point, we're spending the day in the airport just trying to get home," said Alicia Knobelock.

Knobelock says she learned her flight home to St. Louis, Missouri had been canceled on the way to the airport.

"We'd returned all of our transportation, had no... you know, nowhere to stay overnight. So, finding that out, as we were coming to the airport this morning, was incredibly frustrating," she said.

After hours of trying, Knobelock was able to book a flight home on a different airline and got a full refund.

Sky Harbor reported at least 260 canceled or delayed flights on New Year's Day.

"We are worried for sure," said Amar Vadla. She says her flight to Columbus, Ohio has been delayed time and time again.

"I mean, they start off like 30-40 minutes and they keep getting longer...and eventually we see flights getting canceled, too. It happened on our last trip," he added.

Should his flight get canceled, "we are probably going to stay in the airport overnight until we got rebooked on the next day," said Vadla.

While some are stressed about the delays, others...not so much.

"For me...I'm pretty relaxed and enjoying the downtime," said David Lefton, after his flight was delayed by roughly one hour.

Most of these issues involve Southwest and American Airline.

ABC15 reached out to American Airlines, asking the reason behind the delays and cancellations. We have yet to back.

But, for those not as lucky, getting a refund or reimbursement for delays or cancellations becomes the next priority. You should check with your airline for compensation. The U.S. Department of Transportation regulates the industry and has a set of rules airlines have to follow when it comes to things like refunds.

What if you're stuck on hold with customer service? Industry experts suggest you try calling your airline's international phone center instead of the U.S. one even if you're flying domestically. Experts say you might have better luck getting transferred to the correct person quicker.